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Discussion Starter #1
I did a brief intro in the noob section below, so I'll only add a little intro here. I'm new to large scale (and effectively a noob to the whole hobby), and I'm planning a simple G-scale (1:24?) layout in my patio as a start. This is mainly for my 2 year old twin boys, who simply like to watch just about any train running on a track. I've got a roughly "L" shaped patch in the front, and would like to make something like a double loop work in there. I don't need to run a big boy on here, if I decide to upgrade later I've got plenty more land to put it on.

I'm posting a copy of a layout a friend from another forum made for me. I like this layout a bunch, but it is based on different dimensions than I have, and would run smack into a tree. I'm also posting a photo of the area and a rough sketch that hopefully gives enough information.

I'd love whatever ideas you guys have, as well as suggestions on power supply and other goodies I would need to make this work. I'm looking simple again, I'm not planning on DCC or anything for this, just something for the boys to watch go around, and hopefully play with a bit as they grow.

thanks!






 

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I like your idea.

1. Keep in mind, it takes a LONG distance to get a g gauge track to go over another. You might think of a crossing track there rather than an underpass.

2. You might put a bridge over the notch to relieve that tight curve where it's 60 inches wide. Then you could put 5 or even 6 ft diameter curve there.

Looks like you could fit a couple turnouts for when the boys get a little older. One thing they'll like soon is the ability to vary the train's path as it goes around.

You wouldn't believe how much fun kids had with some old track and a couple wheelsets. They could spend hours putting track pieces together and rolling wheels while Dad was train shopping. Kids love hands-on stuff.

 

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I would make sure that you buy a big enough power supply such as the 10 AMP and TE system. This way you will be set for any future expansions of track and locco's Later RJD
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks guys. Good advice on both. I like the idea of a bridge to widen that one curve, and it would be fun to build too. I'm sure the boys will like the interactive stuff, they're already getting there. One of them is going to be an engineer for sure, he spends more time studying his toys than playing with them!
 

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Flathead,

I'd offer that you might want to make a layout where you have two trains running. One for each of your twins. I am debating what I want to do with my railroad. I currently have a large figure 8. Adding a second mainline will result in either making the bridge a gauntlet style or building a new bridge.

Bridges and tunnels are fun. To test out your ideas, you could buy a cheap up-and-over trestle set. This takes about 12 feet to get up and over itself.


That set is relatively inexpensive (list is $39, but you can find it for less on line). I had it when I was 10 or 12, and it was a lot of fun building up and overs in my basement temporary layouts. I wouldn't consider it a permanent solution, however. Just a tool you can use when doing your planning. Be advised that the steepness of this trestle set will limit your train length.

Mark
 
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well since you asked!
I have young boys as well (Eli 5 and Luke 3, sister Caidyn 19mo and Milam to be delivered on July the 15th)......Roundy-round seems to be the way to go to entertain kids. I know some will critize it all day, but smaller kids like mine and yours just want the trains to "go" and not have to get all into switching to make the magic happen. Do I vote for no switching, nope....add a few here or there...for instance howabout a "yard" to park some train cars in...or a passing siding...but I'd prob not go futher than that for now.

We've been playing trains for a few years now...I have one big folded dog-bone loop down(130')...and the wife and I just decided to rip it all up and start over in a different location (easier viewing from deck and table in kitchen)....

make it simple and easy to start with, you'll learn a ton by "just doing it" and then go from there!

Here is a link to my current building log:
http://www.largescalecentral.com/LSCForums/viewtopic.php?id=6875

a few beginner tips to remember...
1. unless you are loaded, it ain't gonna look like the cover of GR Mag!
2. if you are loaded, it's still a ton of work to get the mag cover look!
3. kids don't care about mag covers!
4. ease of use and maintenance is key with small kids (one of my downfalls on current line!)
5. cheap toy trains (battery power-Christmas sets) are great for small hands and feet-Ouch!
6. Dad needs a train too!(his own to pamper and be proud of).
7. make Layout "interactive" build gravel pit or sanding facility for kids to "play with"!
8. if they break it, it's ok....it's only a toy!
9. Don't sweat the small stuff, and it's all small stuff...even in Fn3

if you are interested in good kid proof trains try the H-L-W trains Mack (I have a few and the kids and I both love them-rugged is the key word)
LGB (now owned my Marklin-longer story than it's worth) make Great kids friendly loco's and stock too.

you have a great area there to use....I'd do a folded dog-bone around the perimeter, and toss in another line where I could so they both can play!

here are some helpful books, that I'd go as far to consider them "Must Reads" :

Getting Started in Garden Railroading: Build the Railroad of Your Dreams... in Your Own Backyard
by Allan W. Miller
How to Design and Build Your Garden Railroad by Jack Verducci.

Now I won't lament on powering your trains...I do Battery and RC and it works really well for me.
if I can help further, please let me know...Good Luck!
cale
 
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What TORBY, RJ, Mark, And Cale, said were all great suggestions,these guys are all smart and most have great layouts, may i add also spend a couple of bucks more and start with SS track save your self a lot of agervation when running track power.../DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/wow.gif
Nick..
 

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I really like the concept you guys are playing around with. I can not wait to lay track and watch trains run, while planning expansion. You have planted seeds of thought into my little brain, now if I could just convince my wife to raise my allownace......
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks guys, great suggestions. I never thought about the battery powered ones. Can you get nice quality battery powered trains? What manufacturers should I be looking at? Also - can you use the same track for ease of transition later, or is the guage different?
 

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Scientific Toys makes probably the best looking battery trainset, the Grand Canyon Express set usually shows about christmas time every year, they use to avalaible year round, but this year they have become unavaliable very early but they are still on Evil-bay. It comes with an engine, tender, two cars a caboose, and an R/C controller, and while it runs perfectly fine on G brass track the coupler really do not work with any other type, even the LGB Hook and Loops dont mix. These are new in the stores at christmas for $40 so bid accordingly.

As for you layout I would suggest laying the track down ans seeing how it works best in the space given, you may find you might want to change which track goes over the other.
 
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Ditto on Vic's suggestions on battery trains and track--we have 2 Sci Toys trains that do nicely...the hopper cars are the kids favs.

You didn't mention if you 'had' any track yet...if not a garden hose laid out would give you a good idea of things to do...

Googled around a little and found your original post..and some of the "sales advice" you received...you should (and may) be aware that there are MANY vendors out there that sell FAR BELOW MSRP!!!!....An informed consumer is a MUST in this (and all) Hobbies!

I've had Really good success with Ridge Road Station...you just missed a BIG Bachmann Sale!
http://www.ridgeroadstation.com/trains.shtml

Good Success with Wholesale Trains
http://www.wholesaletrains.com/GProducts2.asp?Scale=G&SPECIAL=0



here are some links to some plans---while not all "G" scale, they may give you some ideas!

http://www.thortrains.net/4holaye.html

http://www.thortrains.net/ scroll down 3/4 page to the "g" section

Outside of the 'I want a train my kids can enjoy' do you have a preference as to what you want to model? Steam, Diesel, logging, modern freight....etc?

This is a pretty good place to look around..slightly dated in some aspects, but mainly a great online resource!
http://www.btcomm.com/trains/primer/index.htm

we'd all be remiss if this page wasn't mentioned!
http://www.girr.org/girr/

cale
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Posted By calenelson on 07/01/2008 10:27 AM
Outside of the 'I want a train my kids can enjoy' do you have a preference as to what you want to model? Steam, Diesel, logging, modern freight....etc?


Lots of good information, thanks! My favorite era is transition, I like the late steam and early diesel, although I know with the tight turns in this space I won't be able to run any of the big steam locos. Besides, with a transition era model, the 1950 Ford in my garage will fit right in!;)
 

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If you have little ones I also recommend the Scientific Toys loco. I picked up a couple for my daughter when she was two. She had no trouble figuring out the remote, and can run her train on my brass tracks. (Make sure you get the set with the remote, some use a push button on the loco). She loads up the boxcar with animals and people figures from the layout. She also likes to drive my trains with the Aristo remote, but Dad doesn't like this option as well (tiny train details have a way of breaking off in little hands ;) ).
 

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One other note on kid's trains. The new Lionel battery powered sets are very well done if you just want a standalone set for indoors. Easy setup and you can buy a standard rechargeable battery. It's marketed as G scale, but that's misleading. The cars are somewhere between O and G scale, and the track is slightly different from the standard brass track. The train will only run correctly on the plastic track designed for it, however you can buy track separately to expand the layout.

Paul
 
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Posted By VillageRail on 07/08/2008 3:05 PM
One other note on kid's trains. The new Lionel battery powered sets are very well done if you just want a standalone set for indoors. Easy setup and you can buy a standard rechargeable battery. It's marketed as G scale, but that's misleading. The cars are somewhere between O and G scale, and the track is slightly different from the standard brass track. The train will only run correctly on the plastic track designed for it, however you can buy track separately to expand the layout.
Paul




thanks for that bit of info, I will remember if I'm ever asked again!
 

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I think the Heartland Mac is a great loco for kids:

1. Durable
2. Easy for them to get on the track
3. No pinch points
4. Rather indestructable
 

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Personaly I would stay with LGB products, one its a great way to introduce a child to the railways of the world. The little European Stainz loco runs around the tight radius curves with ease, in fact most all LGB engines will run on R1 curves with relitive ease. Contact Dave Watts at Watts train shop in Zionsville IN for LGB products. According to his meeting with Marklin reps, we should start seeing new LGB product in time for the holidays, while all euro prototype for the moment, USA prototype stuff should resume next year. LGB locos are very robust, weather proof and thier track is first rate. I have had the cheaper stuff and it just doesnt compare, I would rather have to wait longer and save up for the better stuff, than get the cheaper stuff to satisify a need. Hartland is good, almost LGB quality stuff, made here in the USA and excellent if you want to model traction or early wild west style trains. Thier 4-4-0 is beautifull in the Jupiter paint scheme. USA makes great diesels and Bachmann is tops for logging, but Bachmann and USA stuff is a bit fragile for young children. Above all, have fun with it. I know my wife and I are having a blast building our small garden railway, featuring the trains of Germany. Cheers Mike and Michele T
 

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Flathead - I drew up a layout suggestion that includes a graded overpass - 2.9% on the inner grade and 1.9% on the outer grade should be negotiable by most equipment. I added some spurs inside the length for operating interest. The roadway could appear to tunnel through the box surroundiong the tree (create some false portals and paint a black "opening" on either side). There is room for small industry, a station, a switchtower, and several buildings around the layout. A girder brideg spans the roadway and track underneath. On the left side, the road winds up the hill to a house at the top.
This uses 5 ft and 4 ft dia. curves but also includes larger radius curves for some eased transitions and more realistic look. Still, it's a layout whose charm will be enhanced by using only short locomotives and short rolling stock. I drew this in RR-Track and will gladly email the file to you if you want.
Al
 

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Discussion Starter #19
That's a really nice layout, Al. I appreciate the work. I'll PM you my email to send the file.

I've decided to go with a simple loop around the garden for right now, until I get the feel for keeping it running. Then I think this layout is a winner, something to build as time goes on.
 

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I have three of the "Macs" from Hartland Locomotive Works mentioned by Torby. He's right on with his points on durability and usability. They are as good as you will get for kid use. One of mine was dropped and the top broke loose, but no problem for the motor block. I run it without the top to check out track. The light is on a post that sticks straight up from the motor. You can see it dim in spots with poor electrical conductivity, but the motor will keep running where most locos would stop.

Paul
 
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